Whenever rural producers gather to learn about social media, one of the first messages they hear is that no one is better placed to tell the story of agriculture than those directly involved in the industry themselves.
A recently launched rural blog site is leading the way in enabling people involved in the northern Australian cattle industry to tell their own stories in their own words.
The Central Station blog was launched four months ago by a group of northern pastoralists.
Each week it is hosted by a different cattle station or someone directly involved in the northern beef industry.
The concept was developed by Jane Sale, who manages Yougawalla and Bulka Stations in the Kimberley region with her husband Haydn.
Jane said she was inspired to act after attending an “Influential Women” capacity building workshop in 2012.
She said that after watching the live trade ban and its aftermath affect her family and her business, she would never rely on anyone else to tell her story again.
“Because we are so isolated, it’s really important for us to be able to tell our story, and we have a great story – it’s a story about sustainability, it’s a story about caring for our animals and the great lifestyle that we are passionate about”.
To date, 12 stations from WA and the NT have hosted the blog, as well as a contract mustering crew, a research and extension team, an Indonesian cattle importer and the Indonesian Australian Pastoral Industry Student Program.
In addition to providing a platform for northern producers to share their stories, Central Station also allows the wider community to learn about the Northern Australian and Indonesian cattle industry, the journey Australian cattle follow from cattle stations to the overseas markets for which they are bred, and to meet the people who care for these animals and to learn about their unique way of life.
The site is proving popular having now registered 50,000 hits since it was launched four months ago.
This week’s host Tess Camm said her family was excited to be the first Queensland property hosting Central Station.
“Media is a powerful influencer on public opinion, so it’s inspiring to see a group actively transmitting the everyday happenings of cattle stations to the consumer and society”.
Central Station is currently seeking expressions of interest from cattle stations and people involved in the northern beef industry to host the remainder of 2013 and the 2014 season.
“One week is all we need from you. Whether you are mustering, processing or dropping lick on a mill run- we want to hear from you!” said Jane Sale.
“The best part of being involved is reading everyone else's stories and ending up in tears or fits of laughter!' said previous host Kristie de Pledge of Koordarrie station.
Karen O’Brien of Liveringa Station added “I also loved the fact that despite getting nothing else done all 'host' week, all my family/friends now know what we do up here, and perhaps understand why I never ring!”
Jane Sale is currently funding the project, and actively manages the website alongside with the editor Stephanie Coombes.
Click here to visit the Central Station site
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